Hot off the heels of a visit from former Mavs assistant Terry Stotts and his new team, the Mavs will take on the Toronto Raptors piloted by former assistant Dwayne Casey. Their early season record of 1-2 doesn’t really reflect how well they’ve played.
Frank Falco writes for The Canadian:
“…oddly enough for some reason it feels like 3-0. In losses to Indiana and Brooklyn, the Raptors were close all the way until the end. They were never really out of it and should have won the game against Indiana. Their one win against Minnesota last night, it was close until the beginning of the fourth quarter when the Raptors pulled away. Kyle Lowry was once again outstanding in the win. Demar DeRozan is finally becoming the player we all hoped he would be. While being 1-2 is nothing to celebrate, their play is….”
The Raptors have a few new faces on the team, among them Kyle Lowry, who has taken over for the more-than-competent Jose Calderon as the starting point guard and is leading the Raptors in scoring at 23.7 ppg while shooting 57.5%. That isn’t all Lowry’s doing at this early juncture – he’s dishing out 7 apg as well, grabbing 7.3 rebounds and averaging almost 4 steals. Other than blocking shots about the only thing left for Lowry to do is dance on the sidelines. How long he can keep up that pace is uncertain but for now he’s ballin’ in a big way.
Last season’s top scorer, Andrea Bargnani, has struggled with his shot early and is only averaging 13 points on 32.6% shooting. Bargnani, who has spent his entire career with the Raptors, is likely to hit his stride sometime as he has hovered around the 20ppg mark for the last 3 years.
In the meantime, DeMar DeRozan is playing DeLightfully adding 19 points and Calderon, who was thought to be possibly headed to Dallas after Lowry arrived, completes a capable backcourt as the third guard but overall they are not terribly deep.
The Mavericks match up well against the Raptors and should be able to penetrate and score. The Raptors have been reasonably stingy this year in points allowed but if Collison continues to penetrate and the Mavs don’t plummet too far in FG% as they did in the second half against Utah, they should be successful.
It’s also an opportunity for the Mavs to grab a few rebounds. The Raptors don’t have anyone on the roster who jumps out as chairman of the boards and it shows, as they’re 25th in the league so far in that category. Of course, the Mavs have competent rebounding and for reasons unknown, aren’t doing much better – they’re 21st. This is another opportunity for the Mavs to assert themselves.
Late breaking note:
Shawn Marion will be out at least 3 games with a knee injury. Follow up report soon on The Smoking Cuban.